Global Journal of Environmental Sciences

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The occurrence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in market and abattoir meat in Plateau State, Nigeria

JU Itelima, SE Agina


Escherichia coli O157:H7 is a newly emerging pathogen frequently associated with the consumption of foods of bovine origin. The severity of the infections caused by this food borne pathogen in the young and the elderly has had a tremendous impact on human health and food
industry. The present study evaluated the occurrence of E. coli O157:H7 in abattoir and market meat in seven selected sites in Plateau State, Nigeria. One hundred and forty samples of each of the various meat parts including muscle, liver, heart, kidney and intestine were collected to give a total of 700 meat samples. The samples were aseptically collected at monthly intervals from December 2008 to November 2009 after which they were transported to the laboratory for bacteriological analysis. Enrichment medium Tryptone Soya Broth (TSB) and selective agar media, namely; sorbitol MacConkey agar (SMAC)and cefixime tellurite-sorbitol MacConkey agar (CT-SMAC) were used for the isolation of E. coli O157:H7 from the various meat samples. The results of this study indicated that the intestinal samples had the highest percentage occurrence of the organism (3.39%), while muscle tissue had the lowest (0.43%). The organ meats had comparable percentage occurrence of the organism, with 1.0%
for liver, 0.86% for kidney and 0.71% for heart samples. Significant difference (P<0.05) existed between the occurrence of the pathogen during the wet and dry seasons, but no significant difference (P>0.05) existed in the occurrence of the organism with respect to the sampling sites and the sources (abattoir and market). The presence of E. coli O157:H7 in beef should be regarded as being highly hazardous to consumers and handlers alike because of the severity of the infections associated with the organism. Thus, hygienic and good management of meats and meat environments are very essential.

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